The woman who wrote a widely read blog titled "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother" in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre has appeared on US television to answer her critics.
Liza Long's 1500-word blog shared her very personal struggle raising a mentally ill teenage son whom she feared was capable of horrendous violence comparable to that of 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza.
Her story, which she described as an effort to shift public debate onto mental illness rather than just gun control, elicited much sympathy among readers at first.
But then critics questioned whether it was right to compare her 13-year-old son, who is occasionally prone to belligerence, with the killer of 20 young children and six female staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Critics also pointed out that anyone could easily identify Long's son. Although Long used the pseudonym of "Michael," she used her own real name in the blog and even included a photo of her son.
A columnist for Slate wrote: "'Michael' ... has a long life to live, during which his neighbours and teachers and future employers will know that his mother regularly called the police on him, committed him to a mental institution, and considered seriously accusing him of a crime so she could send him to jail."
But Long defended herself on CNN, saying that her son was aware of the blog and that "his take on it" is that if it could help people better understand mental illness "it's a good thing".
"Michael" is now living in a mental health institution and has been given various diagnoses over the years, including "oppositional defiant disorder" and "intermittent explosive disorder," but doctors still struggle to know how to treat his problem, Long said.
"I have a sick son and we need help," she said.
"That's really what the blog post is about. It's a cry for help in a situation where I was feeling very helpless."